Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 6, 1917 online

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my statement, and I was content to leave the whole matter to my wife. I
do not mean to say that I did not observe sundry innovations in the food
supply. Funny-looking scones came up that tasted rather of pea-soup;
some of the meat dishes had a sort of padded-out aspect, and it was
difficult to get quite away from oat-meal. But I had no cause to
complain. It is only in the last ten days that the situation has become
grave. Barer and barer is the board. I have even had to make
suggestions. I proposed that bacon, for instance, might be allowed to
reappear on Sundays. Very well, said my wife patiently, she would see
what she could do. I wondered if buttered toast had been finally
banished for the Duration. She hoped not. But I gave up that policy, for
I found that whenever I recovered some such fugitive from our table
something else was certain to disappear.

My eyes were opened to it at last. I saw that the establishment was
going rapidly downhill. And I could get no real satisfaction from my
wife. She would make vague promises of reform; she would undertake to do
her best; and she would begin to talk brightly about something else.

And then I wanted to ask the Harrisons to lunch. That brought on the
crisis, for I formulated a minimum demand of a leg of mutton or a pair
of fowls.

"I don't see how it's possible, dear," said my wife. "I _am_ so sorry."

"You are keeping something back from me," said I. "Tell me, whose is the
'Hidden Hand' that is running this blockade?"

"It's Cook."

"Oh, Cook."

"Yes, ever since you gave her that awful slanging about patriotism she
has been grinding me down more and more. She's always plotting and
scheming and telling me that she must keep the book down for the good of
the country. I can see that Jane isn't getting sufficient nourishment.
If I were to propose a pair of fowls for lunch I know that she would say
it was her duty to remind me that we were a beleaguered city. And yet I
don't want to discourage her...."

"That's very awkward," said I. "What in the world are we to do about the

"I know," said my wife suddenly. "Ask them on Saturday. Cook's going to
Plymouth for the week-end to see her son."

"Oh, good," said I. "And we _will_ have a blow-out."

"And we won't put it down in the book."

"No, not a hounce of it."

So that is what we are going to do about the Harrisons. But it doesn't
touch the larger question. Our problem, you will see, is very different
from that of other people, and my wife smiles a pale wan smile when she
hears her friends endlessly discussing ways and means of keeping within
Lord DEVONPORT'S rations. What we want is to discover a means of getting
back to that lavish and generous standard of living.


* * * * *


Unconscious that the times are strange,
Enthroned in cushioned ease and quiet,
My _first_ foresees not any change
In his luxurious canine diet.

While I, his master and his lord,
A hearty breakfast-eater reckoned,
No longer at my frugal board
Enjoy the pleasures of my _second_.

Controllers! - I detest the tribe;
Freedom I hold in deep devotion;
Why should they want to circumscribe
My powers of rapid locomotion?

My _whole_ I can no longer buy,
'Tis useless to attempt to beg it;
And whether it be wet or dry
Three times in four I have to leg it.

* * * * *

"In the Commons this afternoon Mrs. Macpherson said recent fighting
in Southern Palestine had resulted in the capture of a Turkish
advanced position." - _Nottingham Evening Post_.

The lady seems, without waiting for the Franchise Bill, to have captured
an advanced position herself.

* * * * *

"Good Bed room and sitting room, bath, h. and c., in lovely
secluded garden, Hants."

Very proper. Baths should always be taken in seclusion.

* * * * *

"Deland is a church-going community,
with Baptist, Presbyterian, two Methodists,
Christian, Episcopalian and Roman Catholic
Churches." - _American Paper_.

We are so glad the Christians were not forgotten.

* * * * *

[Illustration: IT'S THE SAME MAN.]

* * * * *



* * * * *


I never countenanced the Hun in any sort of way -
He always does what isn't done and won't learn how to play -
But never have I felt estranged quite as I do to-day.

Till now I've strafed him like the rest, as natural and right,
But now my spirit is obsessed by bitter private spite;
And if he wants to know the cause - no mail came up to-night.

The sun must plod his weary course, the long night wax and wane,
To-day's strong rumours lose their force for others as insane,
The ration cart crawl up once more before we hope again.

Who is to blame what man can guess? I do not want to know,
The U-Boats or the Q.M.S., the Censor or the snow -
It cannot modify the fact that warps my nature so.

Although I may not vent my spleen upon the stricken Mess,
Where fancies of what might have been add gall to bitterness,
I mean to cause _some_ sentient thing confusion and distress.

And who so handy as the Hun? I know what I will do,
I will prevent to-morrow's sun with avid zeal and new,
Betaking me to some O. Pip that gives a charming view;

Each Teuton nose that dares to lift above the tunnelled ground
Shall be saluted with its swift and dedicated round,
Till all the burrows of the Bosch with panic shall resound.

And by this wrath it shall be known when there is like delay,
Till far beyond my trembling zone pale Hun to Hun shall say,
"It's no use crying _Kamerad_ - he's had no mail to-day!"

* * * * *



The gorgonzola column also fought a vigorous action, inflicting
great losses on the rebels." - _Evening Chronicle_.

* * * * *

"The standard ship now being built in British shipyards to make
good the loss of tonnage due to submarine warfare, is of about
8,000 tons, and all the ships already laid down are of identical

Eight thousand tons seems to have been hit upon as a middle size
between 6,000 and 10,000 tons." - _Pearson's Weekly_.

A very good hit too.

* * * * *

From an Indian cinema advertisement: -

"'The Marble Heart' from 'King Baggot': A splendid drama dealing
with the loves of a young sculptor whose daydreams partake of an
astral separation from his own self, and carry him to the scenes of
the times in which his 3 statues were living persons. We are
introduced to old Greece, and meet Diagones; Georges; Philideas and
live over again the old times." - _Civil and Military Gazette_

But with a lot of nice new friends.

* * * * *

[Illustration: AGAINST TYRANNY.

RUSSIA (_drawing her sword again in the common cause_). "IF I CAN'T KEEP

* * * * *



* * * * *


(_An echo of the Romney cause célèbre_.)

In view of the attacks on their honourable calling by Sir THOMAS JACKSON
and others, in _The Times_ and elsewhere, the Art critics of London
called a public meeting to consolidate their position. The Chair was
taken by Sir WILLIAM RICHMOND, who was supported by Mr. HUMPHRY WARD,
Mr. A.S. TEMPLE, and numerous other gentlemen who know a Romney when
they see it, or who earn an honest livelihood by distributing
adjectives, good or bad, among painters.

Sir WILLIAM RICHMOND, referring to a recent lawsuit, said that it was
monstrous that careful conclusions based upon a long life of study
should be upset by the production of a pencil sketch, and he called for
the removal of Mr. Justice DARLING from the Bench. Art criticism was not
a mere matter of caprice, as people were now pretending, but an exact
science. If a qualified man, not only a theorist but a practical
craftsman, after years of preparation, stated that a picture was by such
and such a painter, it was by him. The mere fact that someone named
OZIAS HUMPHRY had made a small sketch resembling a large oil painting
proved nothing. (Loud cheers.) The speaker said that he was glad to hear
those sounds. But he would go further. The conclusion of the recent case
was described as dramatic. He had a far more dramatic possibility up his
sleeve. Suppose it should be discovered - as it might be, nothing being
impossible - suppose it should be discovered that ROMNEY chose to paint
some of his pictures under the pseudonym of OZIAS HUMPHRY. What then?
(Terrific sensation.) They had all heard of the SHAKSPEARE-BACON
controversy. The ROMNEY-HUMPHRY controversy might be destined to eclipse
that. (Profound excitement.) He, the speaker, personally was not
prepared to let the matter rest where it did. His honour as an Art
critic was at stake.

An even greater sensation was caused at this juncture by a rush of cold
air in the hall, followed by the appearance of a ghostly shape, which
announced itself to be the shade of OZIAS HUMPHRY himself. If anyone
doubted his identity or suggested that he did not paint his own pictures
he should take very prompt action indeed. The art of haunting was by no
means extinct. (Here the Chairman hurriedly left the room.) The shade,
continuing, caused some consternation by stating that the picture which
had led to litigation the other day was by no means the only supposed
Romney that he had painted. He could name several in collections within
a mile or two of the spot where he was then standing. (At this point Mr.
HUMPHRY WARD swooned and was carried out by Mr. ROBERTS.)

Mr. A.S. TEMPLE remarked that no doubt the shade of OZIAS HUMPHRY
attended that meeting in all good faith, but for his part he thought
that he would have shown better taste had he kept away. In fact everyone
would be happier if OZIAS HUMPHRY had never existed. It was not Art
critics that should be pitched into, but painters whose styles resembled
each other. They were the real nuisance. It was the duty of artists to
be distinctive, and it was the duty of Art critics to keep them so. No
doubt, as SHAKSPEARE knew, there was a certain humour to be extracted
from men who were exactly alike, such as the two _Dromios_, but when
painters painted alike there was no fun in it at all.

Mr. JOHN SMITH testified to the fact that he had no interest in a
picture unless he knew who painted it; and even then he was not
interested unless the name of the painter was a familiar one. If Art
critics provided these names, it was obviously desirable that their
services should be retained; but it was confusing if the Art critics
disagreed among themselves. All he asked was that when they thus
disagreed they should all equally fix on well-known names, even though
they were different ones. Names such as REYNOLDS, GAINSBOROUGH, LEADER
and GOETZE were well known and inspired confidence. Strange names merely
irritated. In visiting the Royal Academy, for example, he personally
always bought a catalogue and confined his attention to the pictures of
the more famous artists. In this way he ensured a pleasant afternoon. If
there was still any doubt as to the merit of a picture, he inquired the
price and was guided by the size of that.

Sir FREDERICK WEDMORE said that to decry the value of Art criticism was
absurd. It was only through the efforts of their literary henchmen that
some painters could be known at all. The better the picture the more
words ought to be written about it, at so much a word. It was impossible
to over-estimate the importance of fitting every brush-mark with the
adequate epithet. He himself had devoted a long life to this task and he
intended to continue doing so. (Loud cheers.)

The Editors of the _Sketch_ and _Tatler_, speaking in unison, said that
not only was there too much talk about pictures, but there were far too
many pictures. Artists ought not to be encouraged in the way they are.
The world was never so happy as in the interval between the loss of the
"Monna Lisa" and its recovery. We should apply our enthusiasm to the
stage - to actors and, above all, to actresses.

The Editors of _The Daily Mirror_ and _The Daily Sketch_, also speaking
in unison, said they agreed to a large extent with the last speakers. It
would not really matter if every painting disappeared, so long as the
camera remained. One living photographer was better than a thousand dead

Sir CLAUDE PHILLIPS asked how the Masters would ever have been called
Masters had it not been for the critics. Painters merely painted and
left it there; it was the critics who decided whether or not they should
be immortal, and whether their pictures should be worth tens or

Mr. MARION SPIELMANN said that no one would deny that the contemplation
of pictures, even those of Saints or Holy Families, had given enormous
pleasure. But why? Not because the crowds that flocked to the galleries
really cared for them, but because gifted writers had for centuries been
setting up hypnotic suggestions that in this way was pleasure to be
obtained. He had often seen men and women standing before a canvas of
REMBRANDT, hating the grubby muddle of it in their hearts, but adoring
it in their heads - all because some well-known critic had told them to.
Their pleasure, however, was real, and therefore it should, in a world
of sadness, be encouraged, and consequently Art critics should be

Mr. ROGER FRY here rose to point out that the test of a picture is not
the pleasure which it imparts, as the last speaker seemed to think, but
the pain. The sooner the public got that fact into its thick head the
better would it be for those artists who were not so clay-souled as to
allow stuffy conventions to interfere with the development of their

Mr. D.W. GRIFFITH said that he had never heard so much talk about
pictures, with so little reference to himself. It was he who invented
"The Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance," and he was the Picture King,
and as such he wished to tell them that the best Art critic in the world
couldn't hold a candle to a very ordinary Press agent. (Uproar, during
which the meeting broke up.)

* * * * *

[Illustration: _The "Nut" of the Regiment_ (_reading Army order re

* * * * *



Next to the beauty of its girls my little Western home is noted for two
things - the ferocity of its dogs and its bountiful provision for
assuaging an attack of thirst. For the latter there are fifteen houses,
ten of which have licences and the rest back-doors. We are by birth a
temperate people, but there is much salt in the air.

Our dogs are very like ourselves, as peaceable and well-conducted as can
be, except when some rascal takes up their challenge and makes faces at
them or trails a tail of too much pretension and too suddenly in their
neighbourhood. Then the fur is apt to fly.

"What a degrading spectacle a dog-fight is!" Moriarty, who takes up the
collection in church and has thus a semi-ecclesiastical status in life,
which shows itself in his speech, said this to me only last evening.
There were about a hundred of us trying to hide this degrading spectacle
from the police and other innocent people, and Moriarty had just lost
three-and-sixpence on Casey's dog. "A degrading spectacle indeed," said
I. "If Casey's dog had held out two minutes longer he had the other dog
beat. I am disappointed in Casey's dog." It _was_ degrading, and I am
glad I had only half-a-crown on it. So I paid up to our collector of
rates and taxes and came home.

This little incident made me think of Billy O'Brien, our next-door
neighbour. Billy had one passion in life, and that was the rearing of a
dog that could whip any combination in the vicinity.

Billy said life wasn't worth living if he could not walk in the streets
without some neighbour's dog beating his. Billy had failed hitherto, and
this is not surprising to one who knows the dogs of Ballybun. They are
Irish terriers to a dog, and all of them living instances of the
doctrine of the survival of the fittest. The air of Ballybun is bad for
a dog with a weak chest who thinks he has a strong one. Billy
experimented with many breeds and had many glimpses of success, but a
Ballybun dog always put an end to his experiments.

Last year Billy thought he had achieved his aim at last. When he
returned from the sea-side he brought with him a powerful dog of unknown
breed and of the most colossal ugliness. He confided to me that he would
not let him out on the street until his education was complete, "and
then," said he, "there will be only one dog in the Ballybun census." I
had my doubts, as I know the local dog, which would have the hide off an
elephant if it barked. But Billy O'Brien is a stranger, or as we say
"transplanter" in our part of Ireland, his grandfather being the first
of his branch to transplant himself here, and he did not then know much
about the higher education of dog, though he is an admirable inspector
of schools.

But he thought he did, and he had an educational theory which was all
his own. He claimed that a dog is what he eats, and he simply spent
pounds on that dog's education. In a month or two Elixir, which was the
dog's name, could swallow curries without winking which would bring
tears to the eyes of an Oriental Potentate, and he would howl if he was
given water without Worcester Sauce.

O'Brien's theory may have been right, or else it was only his dog's
liver that was wrong, for very soon Elixir would keep us up half the
night shouting offensive epithets across our wall at Mulligan's dog, who
hurled them back at him. Mulligan, who is a light sleeper, was much
annoyed, and wrote O'Brien eight pages about it. He mentioned that he
was a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
and that it was positive cruelty to keep these two animals separated a
moment longer than was absolutely necessary. He said that his
conscientious objections to betting were well known and life-long, but
that even they would not stand in the way of his wife's putting a fiver
on their dog Stanislaus. He added a few remarks about O'Brien's
grandfather, the "transplanter"; but what annoyed the owner of Elixir
most was Mulligan's remark that he had not seen the dog, but heard it
was some new kind of German pug.

Billy came in with the libelled animal at his heels to show me
Mulligan's letter and discuss his wrongs, before he went round to talk
dog with the writer. His shortest way to Mulligan's was through my
back-yard. Elixir, without anybody's permission, at once started to
break his way through in order to tell Mulligan's dog to his face what
he thought of him. He had hardly set a paw in it when an infuriated ball
of fur lit somewhere out of space on to his back, cursing and spitting
and tearing the hair out in slathers. This new enemy was my wife's
tortoise-shell kitten Emmeline, whose existence I had for the moment
forgotten, but who owns that backyard and whose permission had not been

What was left of Elixir let a yell out of it like a foghorn and bolted.
It returned twenty-four hours later with its tail between its legs, a
convinced pacifist. The disgusted O'Brien at once changed its name to
Bertrand Russell, after some philosopher who palliates German methods of
warfare, and gave it to a tinker.

O'Brien has abandoned theories about dogs and is now trying to encourage
hygiene in our midst, and Mulligan is sleeping better than ever.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Diner_ (_choking_). "QUICK! WATER! CRUMB IN ME THROAT."

* * * * *


"Governess (Nursery), £40, seasick, one pupil, usual subjects,
about 30." - _Melbourne Argus_.

* * * * *

From a Cadets' examination:

"_Q._ What is a Roster?

_A._ A Roster is a soldier who frequently gets drunk or rowdy. Not what
could be called a steady man."

* * * * *

From a Publishers' advertisement: -

Wild Foods of Great Britain: Where to Find them and How to Cook
them. 46 figs. Post free 1s. 9d."

The figs alone are worth the money.

* * * * *

"Leytonstone's best effort was by a wounded soldier, who at great
risk of pneumonia gallantly rescued a number of women from a
tramcar that couldn't swim." - _Daily Sketch_.

The attention of the L.C.C. is respectfully called to this deficiency on
the part of its vehicle.

* * * * *

"A vessel of 30,000 tons may be sunk, but on the percentage
table, such as the Admiralty serves up to us, she occupies the
same relative position as a one-ton yawl returning with a load of
kippers." - _Mr. E. Ashmead-Bartlett in "The Sunday Times."_

Inquiries as to the locality of the kipper fishing-grounds should be
addressed to our contemporary. We ourselves hear that it is in the
neighbourhood of the fried whitings.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Anxious voice_ (_from motor-launch_). "I SAY, CAN YOU

_Commander of destroyer_. "YES, DEAR OLD THING. YOU'RE IN THE NORTH

* * * * *


Master of Arts, how is it with you now?
Our spires stand up against the saffron dawn
And Isis breaks in silver at the prow
Of many a skiff, and by each dewy lawn
Purple and gold the tall flag-lilies stand;
And SHELLEY sleeps above his empty tomb
Hard by the staircase where you had your room,
And all the scented lilacs are in bloom,
But you are far from this our fairy-land.

Your heavy wheel disturbs the ancient dust
Of empires dead ere Oxford saw the light.
Those flies that form a halo round your crust
And crawl into your sleeping-bag at night -
Their grandsires drank the blood of NADIR SHAH,
And tapped the sacred veins of SULEYMAN;
There flashed dread TIMOUR'S whistling yataghan,
And soothed the tiger ear of GENGHIZ KHAN
The cream of Tartary's battle-drunk "Heiyah!"

And yonder, mid the colour and the cries
Of mosque and minaret and thronged bazaars
And fringed palm-trees dark against the skies
HARUN AL RASCHID walked beneath the stars
And heard the million tongues of old Baghdad,
Till out of Basrah, as the dawn took wing,
Came up the laden camels, string on string;
But now there is not left them anything
Of all the wealth and wisdom that they had.

Somehow I cannot see you, lean and browned,
Chasing the swart Osmanli through the scrub
Or hauling railroad ties and "steel mild round"
Sunk in the sands of Irak to the hub,
Heaping coarse oaths on Mesopotamy;
But rather strewn in gentlemanly ease
In some cool _serdab_ or beneath the trees
That fringe the river-bank you hug your knees
And watch the garish East go chattering by.

And at your side some wise old priest reclines
And weaves a tale of dead and glorious days
When MAMUN reigned; expounds the heavenly signs
Whose movements fix the span of mortal days;
Touches on Afreets and the ways of Djinns;
Through his embroidered tale real heroes pass,
RUSTUM the bold and BAHRAM the wild ass,
Who never dreamed of using poisoned gas
Or spread barbed wire before the foeman's shins.

I think I hear you saying, "Not so much
Of waving palm-trees and the flight of years;
It's evident that you are out of touch
With war as managed by the Engineers.


Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 6, 1917 → online text (page 2 of 3)